Day's news: Trump, Haley, Biden

Golden-crowned Kinglet, Forêt boréale de la Haute-Côte-Nord, Sept-Rivières, Quebec, Canada

Bird Song of the Day: The golden-crowned kinglet, despite its tiny stature, is a powerhouse songster, able to sing up to 1,000 songs per hour. Their song is a cheerful series of trills and chirps, which often accelerates toward the end.


Classification Struggles

Pierre Bourdieu, a French sociologist, once wrote, “So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” Though I can't help but consider this in my assessment of the latest news. Today we cover a plethora of political stories, so let's get started!

First up, politics in the realm of law. There has been a lot of talk about the Eighth Amendment recently, regarding the excessive fines clause and Donald Trump's recent fraud conviction in New York. Trump has quoted the Eighth Amendment regarding the $250 million fine he was given and the subsequent seizure of his businesses, though no lawyers seem to be jumping at the opportunity to appeal the case. We shall see what comes of it.

The New York Attorney General, Letitia James, has apparently been campaigning to dissolve the Trump Organization and is likely to do so if Trump fails to pay the aforementioned fine. John Dean, who served under Richard Nixon, during the Watergate scandal, commented that the Attorney General will seize Trump's properties and liquidate them at fire sale prices. This is perhaps an attempt to instill fear into Trump and those who support him. It seems the politics of fear are here to stay.

Steven Calabresi, writing in Reason, makes some interesting points about the violation of Trump's rights in the handling of his case. He asserts that the judge, Judge Engoron, has essentially turned a vaguely worded law into a modern-day bill of attainder targeted at Trump. Calabresi goes on to say that the judge's rulings violate Trump's First Amendment right to freedom of speech and of the press, his Fifth Amendment right not to be deprived of liberty or property without due process of law, and his Fifth Amendment right not to have property taken away from him except for a public use with just compensation. This certainly makes for an interesting appeal, should Trump pursue it.

Moving on to some brighter news, Nikki Haley is making headlines with her campaign for the Republican nomination. She has managed to pull off a massive stunt, getting Fox News and other outlets to take her speech live by teasing it as a resignation speech. Instead, Haley used the platform to further her campaign. The speech itself was brilliant, taking the blame for the Trump era and arguing that the Republican Party needs to change to survive.

Finally, we come to Biden. Biden is apparently trying to shake off concerns about his age and vitality with the upcoming State of the Union address. It seems the White House sees the address as a big, public reset moment, a chance to overcome or at least neutralize concerns about Biden's fitness for office. It will be interesting to see what happens. We shall have to wait and see Biden's performance. Though, maybe the question is, will he perform at all?

Read more